GeForce RTX 3090: 12-pin PCIe on Founders Edition, not on custom cards

We're hearing that NVIDIA will use a new 12-pin PCIe power connector on the GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, not custom cards.

@anthony256
Published Sat, Aug 15 2020 9:21 PM CDT

We first heard about NVIDIA reportedly using a new 12-pin PCIe power connector on its GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards, and now we have more confirmation.

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I've been talking to industry sources of mine who have said that NVIDIA will be using the 12-pin PCIe power connector on its new GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition graphic cards, while AIB partners on the other hand will not be using the 12-pin connector, and rather will have multiple 8-pin PCIe power connectors.

This lines up with the purported GeForce RTX 3090 PCB photo that was leaked yesterday, as it was reportedly a COLORFUL iGame GeForce RTX 3090 Vulcan-X with 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors and no 12-pin PCIe power connector in sight. That is because it's a custom card -- which I exclusively reported will launch alongside, or very close to the launch of the GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards.

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It seems that AIB partners will have their custom GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards powered by multiple 8-pin PCIe power connectors, while the Founders Edition versions from NVIDIA will have a special new 12-pin PCIe power connector.

So this is generating more questions than anything else.

  • Does the new 12-pin PCIe power connector do anything special?
  • Would a 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connector on a custom card, somehow be less powerful, or consume more power, than a 12-pin PCIe power connector on a GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition card?

We do know that performance on these cards will be something truly next level good, with up to 50% more performance inside of the new Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3090 over the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

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  • What's NVIDIA doing with all those mentions of 21? I'm a kinda numerology nerd in some ways, so it helps decode at least some of it -- which I did so here. (GeForce) 256 x 21 (days/years celebration) = 5376 (GPU cores in purported GA102 GPU), and 5 + 3 + 7 + 6 = 21.
  • What about "ULTIMATE"? Well that's the other thing -- does NVIDIA mean this will be the "ultimate graphics card", or does it mean we could expect an ULTIMATE branded graphics card? GeForce RTX 3090 ULTIMATE has a nice ring to it... just saying.
  • Where can I tune into the GeForce special event? NVIDIA will be premiering the special event broadcast on September 9 at 9AM PT, hosted by none other than NVIDIA CEO and founder Jensen Huang. You can tune in right here.

More reading:

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  • Traversal coprocessor: We have had more leaks on NVIDIA's next-gen GeForce RTX 3000 series than any family of graphics cards before it, with an interesting "traversal coprocessor" on the new GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards. You can read more on that here.
  • NVCache: Ampere is meant to have something called NVCache, which would be NVIDIA's own form of AMD's HBCC (High Bandwidth Cache Controller, more on that here). NVCache would use your system RAM and SSD to super-speed game load times, as well as optimizing VRAM usage. You can read more on NVCache here.
  • Tensor Memory Compression: NVCache is interesting, but Tensor Memory Compression will be on Ampere, and will reportedly use Tensor Cores to both compress and decompress items that are stored in VRAM. This could see a 20-40% reduction in VRAM usage, or more VRAM usage with higher textures in next-gen games and Tensor Memory Compression decreasing that VRAM footprint by 20-40%.
  • How fast is the GeForce RTX 3090? Freaking fast according to rumors, with 60-90% more performance than the current Turing-based flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. We could see this huge performance leap in ray tracing titles, but we'll have to wait a little while longer to see how much graphical power NVIDIA crams into these new cards. You can read more on those rumors here.
  • Power hungry: As for power consumption, GA102 reportedly uses 230W -- while 24GB of GDDR6X (which we should see on the new Ampere-based TITAN RTX) consumes 60W of power. You can read more on that here.
  • Production begins soon: NVIDIA is reportedly in the DVT (or Design Validation Test) range of its new GeForce RTX 3000 series graphics cards. Mass production reportedly kicks off in August 2020, with a media event, benchmarks, and more in September 2020 as I predicted many months ago. More on that here.
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I've already written about rumors that NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere GPU architecture would be up to 75% faster than current-gen GPUs such as the Turing architecture, right after rumors that Ampere would offer 50% more performance at half the power of Turing. This is pretty crazy stuff right there.

Not only that, but we've got some rumored specs on the purported GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 graphics cards, which will both be powered by NVIDIA's new Ampere GPU architecture.

We've already heard that Ampere would offer 50% more performance at half the power of Turing, which sent the hairs on my neck standing up. Better yet, you can read about the leaked specs on the purported Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3070 right here.

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Even more reading:

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Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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